Reviews

The-Old-Stones

Review – The Old Stones: a field guide to the megalithic sites of Britain and Ireland

‘Power to the people’ and all praise to ringmaster Andy Burnham! In 2012, veterinarian Olaf Swarbrick published his gazetteer of standing stones, which, although a heroic effort showing what a single researcher, standing outside the financially constrained academic ring, can contribute, lacked the ‘kerb appeal’ achieved by Burnham and his circle of friends.

Henry-VII-funeral-effigy-head,1509

Review – Westminster Abbey

New displays in Westminster Abbey’s eastern triforium (the gallery above the nave) explore the long history of the church, its royal links, and its importance as a national monument. Lucia Marchini takes a look at the recently opened Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries.

Archaeology-of-Oxford

Review – The Archaeology of Oxford in 20 Digs

This enjoyable little book takes the reader on a whistle-stop tour of the buried heritage of one of Britain’s iconic historic cities. Each chapter addresses a key excavation or discovery that illuminates a particular aspect of the city’s past, and the development of antiquarians’ and archaeologists’ efforts to understand it.

Ragstone-to-Riches

Review – Ragstone to Riches

Ragstone was quarried from the upper Medway valley in Kent on a vast scale during the Roman period: the walls of Roman London were built with it, and the Blackfriars ship sank with a cargo of the stone. Little is known about the industry, though, and Simon Elliott’s survey is therefore hugely welcome.

Roman-science

Review – The Science of Roman History: biology, climate, and the future of the past

The Science of Roman History is an innovative book, bringing together many different areas of archaeological science to comment on the Roman Empire. It is an enormous undertaking to synthesise over 500 years of human history, spanning regions as far apart as the Levant and the British Isles, and obviously many nuances must be abridged or omitted. Nonetheless, the editor and contributors make a valiant effort to create a foundation on which to build and are ultimately successful in creating a baseline of knowledge.

Reindeer-hunters

Review – Reindeer Hunters at Howburn Farm, South Lanarkshire

This fascinating volume focuses on a Scottish settlement site that has its origins in the Late Upper Palaeolithic (LUP), inhabited at a time when the glaciers in northern Europe were in retreat. The book presents the results of a large excavation where a considerable lithic assemblage was recovered.

Sacred-Britannia

Review – Sacred Britannia: the gods and rituals of Roman Britain

What did the Romans do for us? Aside from sanitation, roads, and many other technological and engineering innovations that were introduced to these shores during imperial occupation, their arrival also transformed Britain’s religious landscape. With the Roman army came not only knowledge of the Classical pantheon, but also more exotic mystery cults and gods from the eastern fringes of the empire – including Christianity.

Witch bottle (c) Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford copy

Review – Spellbound

Would you walk under a ladder? Could you stab the image of a loved one? A new exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford brings together artefacts, documents, and artwork to explore the magical thinking behind questions like these over the centuries. Lucia Marchini went along to find out more.

50-Finds-from-Worcestershire

Review – 50 Finds from Worcestershire

The series looking at the stories behind the objects from the Portable Antiquities Scheme continues with Worcestershire. Victoria Allnatt, the Finds Liaison Officer for West Staffordshire and the South West Midlands, has selected objects from across the chronological range that are representative of the material routinely recorded (weapons and tools that characterise the Bronze Age records give way to coins and brooches in the Iron Age) or are in some other way special.

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